Built in the early 1870s by Guillermo Wendell’s Nitrate Extraction Company, this mining town was acquired by the Peruvian government in 1876, but after the end of the Saltpeter War the region was annexed to Chile’s territory. After an interruption in 1913, the office was modernized and reopened in the 1920s, at which point almost 500 people lived there. It kept working following the Great Depression of 1929, and its administration was co-shared between private companies and the Chilean state. It stopped functioning and was abandoned in 1960.
Nowadays, the site boasts the remains of the industrial installations once used for nitrate processing, ruins of the urban settlement, the administration house and the leaching tower. This latter, which stands out for its monumentality, was mainly built of Oregon pine wood and metal. Even though they have deteriorated over time, these materials are icons of the former saltpeter industry in Chile.